I'm taking my first trip to Europe from the US via Icelandair and will be taking a large backpack (internal frame, checked bag) rather than a suitcase. On the Icelandair website they state:

Backpacks and other luggage with loos straps and items attached on the outside of check baggage need to be wrapped in clear thick plastic bag. Proper clear thick plastic bags are available for sale at most of our departing stations.

*loose. This message appears when selecting "Backpacks" from the "Sports Equipment or Odd Size Baggage" dropdown.

I've never traveled with a backpack that wasn't just a carry-on before. I obviously get why something like this needs to be bagged, but my question is what sort of bags are allowable for this (apart from them being clear of course)? Do they need to be a certain material? I realize I can probably buy one at the airport, but if they charge an arm and a leg for it I would like to find a cheaper alternative and bring my own if possible.
Alternatively, how much should I actually expect to pay for one, if I end up needing to buy one at the airport?

  • 1
    While yours is slightly different, the various answers in this earlier question may offer what you need.
    – Giorgio
    Jan 4, 2017 at 16:28
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    For what it's worth, I have traveled on Icelandair with a backpack in an opaque sack as checked luggage without any comments from check-in agents -- even when I re-checked it in Keflavik (where the agents are surely intimately familiar with Icelandair's baggage policies) after an unscheduled overnight layover. Jan 4, 2017 at 16:58
  • Yeah, I think I probably misinterpreted it as a "need" for a clear bag. Which when you really think about it, would be largely unnecessary... Oops. Jan 4, 2017 at 17:15

2 Answers 2


20 years ago my backpack was packed in one such a sturdy plastic bag on the way home from a holiday, I do not remember which country but it was certainly not Iceland.

I kept that bad and have used it for a couple of trips till it got ripped while protecting by bagpack in check-in luggage.

It was of a size that covers most backpackers packs with a little bit extra space, but not much more. Very sturdy plastic, the kind that only the most expensive 'building waste' bags are made off and at the same time it did pack small enough that for a short travel I would just carry it with me.

Contact your departure airport and see if they have the kind of bag for sale, otherwise, wrapping in plastic as available on many airports will also do for the airline.

I do not think your outer bag has to be clear, it is just that they offer clear bags for sale for the purpose.
Airlines are happy to accept backpacks in duffel bags that are just big enough, or special nylon 'transport your backpack' sacks. The bag they gave me back then was more sturdy than either cheap solution.


This answer describes an alternative solution.

The point is to contain all the 'loose' straps and what not. The material of the bag/wrapper doesn't matter so much.

If you can properly secure any loose parts, the Agent may accept it at bag check.

Check if your departure airport has a service such as Secure Wrap. I would expect to pay about $20 for the service, though I have never used it myself.

In this case, don't take the site to literally. I've never seen an actual bag to contain luggage, just the bag wraps.

  • So, as usual, the downvote is totally unwarranted, wrong and unhelpful to the community. There is nothing wrong with this answer and actually adds useful information to the situation. I am though quite flattered that someone would take the time.
    – DTRT
    Jan 4, 2017 at 16:45
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    We are asked not to change the meaning of an answer when editing. Your answer is wrong in that such bags do exist, can be replaced easily by other products for sale. I did not downvote, but I have seen better answers getting more downvotes.
    – Willeke
    Jan 4, 2017 at 16:53
  • @Willeke I didn't say you downvoted, but my answer is 100% correct. OP is asking about 'bags' because that is what is described on the FI web site. The things is, there are other legitimate alternatives OP might not be aware of, such as bag wrap services. In the case of a backpacker, not having to carry a single/double use item might be worth the bag wrap fee. Purposely hiding relevant information or alternatives is just as bad as a wrong answer. It's like being asked where's the Starbucks in Toronto and not pointing out you're standing in front of a Tom Hortons.
    – DTRT
    Jan 4, 2017 at 17:00

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